Nursery Admissions - Part 1 of 3
Monday, April 23, 2018
By Anjali Belur, BlinkNow Futures Director
It’s nursery class admissions season at Kopila Valley! That means two things. 1) We get to give the gift of 14 years of quality education to 30 deserving children, and 2) we don’t get to give that gift to so many more children. Each year at Kopila Valley, a panel consisting of our nursery teachers, a high school teacher, a board member, and a BlinkNow US staff member interviews hundreds of children, and the family members who bring them, for a spot at Kopila Valley School. This spot comes with 14 years of fully paid tuitions, free lunches, school supplies, uniforms, and all the other services that we offer, from club day to Dashain Camp.
As I sat in these interviews, we tried to discern two things: 1) was this child needy? As in, did their families truly have no other means to pay for an education? Because of the huge opportunity that Kopila provides, struggling families often omit from their application the existence of a fruit stand or a government disability check that might provide extra income— during the interview we try and wade through the stories to come to the truth about which children most need our help. 2) If given this scholarship, will they stick around? So many families come from hilly villages tucked deep in the Himalayas, and we’ve seen many a child drop out of Kopila because their family couldn’t bear the burdens of living away from the village, so we’re forced to only take those children who show a good chance of being able to complete their full education.
Admissions makes me feel guilty and hopeful all at the same time. Guilty because every child deserves a quality education and yet we can’t take them all. But hopeful because by taking the neediest of the needy, we break the cycle of poverty: each child that we educate is a child that may have otherwise grown up illiterate, impoverished, and without the tools to advocate for themselves, but instead is growing up to be one of Nepal’s changemakers.
Our team at Kopila gives everything to the children. Two nursery teachers, a high school teacher, and three board members spent a week interviewing students trudged through the pouring rain for 9 hours to visit 18 homes. Slipping through muddy ravines and soaked rice paddies, we visited humble, one room homes on the outskirts of Surkhet, where cute little ones in shorts and broken sandals played with our camera phones. A team that gives up their summer holiday, gets drenched, and then shows up the next day at 8 AM to do it all again? This is the power of Kopila Valley. Adults who care enough to do something.